As the major outdoor living trend sweeps the nation, decks are getting
bigger. But with television shows featuring 3,000-square-foot monster decks, the
average homeowner is left to wonder, "Just how big of a deck do I need?"
Atlanta, Georgia-based deck builder Frank Pologruto says it all comes down to
how homeowners intend to use their space as each "zone" of the deck will require
a general square footage.
"People want somewhere to cook, and then eat, and then have a conversation, and
you start adding up these areas and you realize you can't do all this in a
16-foot by 12-foot deck," said Pologruto, the owner of Decks & More.
Dining - 320+ square feet
Outdoor kitchens and dining areas are growing in popularity, but do require
significant space. A grill with some counter space for cooking and a large table
and chairs for dining will take up around 320 square feet of deck.
Seating - 250+ square feet
Adding an additional seating area, whether a quiet morning coffee spot or an
after-dinner conversation pit, will require more space. A conversation area for
about six people will add another 256 square feet to the deck. Adding a fire
element to the seating area, will require not only the space for the actual
fireplace or fire pit, but also appropriate distance between the fire and any
Pool or hot tub - 150+ square feet
Homeowners looking to include a water feature like an in-ground pool or hot tub
can expect it to require additional deck space. A four-person hot tub could take
up as many as 100 square feet of deck, but Pologruto cautions homeowners to
build in plenty of room to walk around, and enter and exit the hot tub, bringing
the total to between 150 and 200 square feet.
Parties - 15 square feet per person
As a general rule, Pologruto said homeowners should determine how many people
they expect to host on their deck and estimate about 15 square feet of deck per
person. To comfortably fit around 20 people, the deck will need at least 300
square feet of open space.
"Remember though, if you plan to have 50 people over, they won't all be out on
the deck at the same time, so plan for your deck to hold about 30 people," he
With the added square footage comes a bigger price tag - $25,000 to $250,000
depending on the size.
The deck material will also affect the final cost. Pologruto uses traditional
wood boards and high-end ENVISION composite decking by TAMKO Building Products,
and says if homeowners are already preparing to spend the money to build a large
deck, they should go the extra step and upgrade to a composite board.
"If you're smart and have the money, do the composite - it just makes more
sense," he said.
Overall, from his experience, Pologruto said most homeowners don't need a
3,000-square-foot deck, and should be able to fit a small dining area, arbor,
hot tub and separate seating area in about 750 square feet, although some of the
decks he builds are more than twice that size.
Planning to include the right amount of space will leave you with the most
comfortable outdoor living area to suit your needs.